No issues are vexing superintendents more this fall than decisions about distance learning and reopening school campuses for in-person instruction. Each must weigh a complicated set of high-risk, competing factors, with the lives and health of students, staff and their families at stake.
California health officials have provided guidelines for school districts, but teachers’ unions, parents and local health officials also have a say. Some districts are grappling with unique conditions that affect reopening plans, such as large numbers of students who take the bus to school, or remote geography with weak or no internet access.
But even districts that meet the state’s guidelines might not see students return to campus right away. School administrators, often in response to negotiations with their teachers’ unions, may set more stringent conditions. And parents may not want to send their children to school, despite assurances of safety from school officials.